A Few Things to Consider While Designing

Most of the following items can be inter-related and juxtaposed.  This is not intended to be a comprehensive list or listed in any priority.  It is a list of things to think about (and talk about with your designer) when you find yourself designing your next project.

A.)      Program/Use  

  1. What are you designing?
  2. For whom are you designing?
  3. Are there any important relationships between the various “program” spaces?
  4. What are the project constraints – cost, site, schedule, users, etc.?
  5. Is there a defining thought – a certain look, feel, sense of place; that needs to be defined?
  6. The “space” created for the program informs the Form & Aesthetics of the space as well as the Context where it resides.

B.)      Context/Site

  1. Where is It?
  2. Think: Location, Location, Location (like City vs Rural).
  3. Solar Orientation – Where does the sun rise and set? Which way is North?
  4. What are some the adjacent natural and manmade site features?
  5. Where do the winds come from, the shade, the sun, water elements/features, are there existing trees and/or vegetation that need to be considered.
  6. Utilities – How are basic needs met? (Think: water, plumbing, electricity, sanitary waste, domestic waste, and connectivity to outside world, i.e., internet and other telecommunication).

C.)      Form/Aesthetics

  1. Scale, Proportion, OrderThoughtfulness of scale.
  2. Think outside the plan, elevation, and sections – How does the space look/feel in perspective, the way one moves through the space?
  3. Think: When you enter a traditional Roman Church the entrance (narthex) is typically low making the entrance into the vaulted nave more dramatic.
  4. Materials (inside and outside). Local materials indigenous to the project site?
  5. Texture – The texture and “feel” can define the interior and exterior of a space.
  6. Color – How does color or lack of color define the space.  Is the color applied or is it part of the natural materials?
  7. Image – What are the defining elements of the design?  The façade?
  8. Structure – How will the space be defined?  What type of materials will be used? What type of structure will be used (Bearing Walls vs Columns, etc.).

D.)      Other Factors

  1. The Client – Ultimately (right or wrong) the clients basic needs need to be met (especially if there is a written contract).
  2. Societal Benefits (Questions like are we doing the right thing are important!!!)
  3. The Earth/Environment

For example:

  • How does the program, site/context and Form/Aesthetics impact the local and global environment?
  • How do the decisions made above impact the environment?
  • Transportation – labor and materials.
  • Is there a way to reduce the size of the “space” or “spaces” – Smaller footprints and volumes result in less energy use (Think: HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing services/systems).

Click here for some more ideas on design.

Sincerely,
@FrankCunhaIII


Surf’s Up! #EcoMonday Renewable Clean Wave Power Energy

When I read about Scotland’s wave power in this week’s Newsweek I was excited but disappointed.  Disappointed because the USA is not leading the initiative on wave power.

Pelamis on site at EMEC, the planned location for Scotland’s first wave farm.

Various systems are under development at present aimed at harnessing the enormous potential available for wave power off Scotland’s coasts. Pelamis Wave Power (previously Ocean Power Delivery) are an Edinburgh-based company whose Pelamis system has been tested off Orkney and Portugal. These devices are 150 metres (492 ft) long, 3.5 metres (11.5 ft) diameter floating tubes which capture the mechanical action of the waves. Future wave farm projects could involve an arrangement of interlinked 750 kW machines connected to shore by a subsea transmission cable.

Another approach is used by the LIMPET 500 (Land Installed Marine Power Energy Transformer) energy converter installed on the island of Islay by Wavegen Ltd. It is a shore-based unit and generates power when waves run up the beach, creating pressure inside an inclined oscillating water column. This in turn creates pneumatic power which drives twin 250 kW the generators. Islay LIMPET was opened in 2001 and is the world’s first commercial scale wave-energy device. The manufacturers are now developing a larger system in the Faroe Islands.

Funding for the UK’s first wave farm was announced by the Scottish Executive on 22 February 2007. It will be the world’s largest, with a capacity of 3 MW generated by four Pelamis machines at a cost of over 4 million pounds. The funding is part of a new £13 million funding package for marine power projects in Scotland that will also support developments to Aquamarine’s Oyster and Ocean Power Technology’s PowerBuoy wave systems, AWS Ocean Energy’s sub-sea wave devices, ScotRenewables’ 1.2 MW floating rotor device, Cleantechcom’s tidal surge plans for the Churchill barriers between various Orkney islands, the Open Hydro tidal ring turbines, and further developments to the Wavegen system proposed for Lewis as well as a further £2.5 million for the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) based in Orkney. This is a new Scottish Executive-backed research facility that has installed a wave testing system at Billia Croo on the Orkney mainland and a tidal power testing station on the nearby island of Eday. At the official opening of the Eday project the site was described as “the first of its kind in the world set up to provide developers of wave and tidal energy devices with a purpose-built performance testing facility.”

The Siadar Wave Energy Project was announced in 2009. This 4 MW system was planned by npower Renewables and Wavegen for a site 400 metres off the shore of Siadar Bay, inLewis. However in July 2011 holding company RWE announced they were withdrawing from the scheme, and Wavegen are seeking new partners. In early 2010 two areas were identified for substantial offshore wind development, in the Moray Firth basin and outer Firth of Forth. Shortly afterwards the Government earmarked eleven sites they expected to benefit from the construction of up to 8,000 offshore turbines by 2020. These included Campbeltown and Hunterston, four sites previously used for offshore oil fabrication atArdersierNigg BayArnish and Kishorn and five east coast locations from Peterhead to Leith. In May 2010 the “Vagr Atferd P2″ Pelamis 750 kW system was launched for testing by EMEC. The device weighs 1500 tonnes and is 180 metres long.

Pelamis Wave Power

Pelamis Wave Power Ltd is the manufacturer of a unique system to generate renewable electricity from ocean waves. For energy companies, utilities and their customers, Pelamis machines offer the ability to unlock an immense clean energy resource with great potential. To see the Pelamis in actionclick here.

The Technology

The Pelamis Wave Energy Converter is the result of many years of engineering development by PWP. It was the world’s first commercial scale machine to generate electricity to the grid from offshore wave energy and the first to be used commercially. For details about how the Pelamis works and to read about our new P2 device, click here. For details of recent machine operations and testing, click here.

Wave Energy

Offshore wave energy has the potential to be one of the most environmentally benign forms of electricity generation. The wave energy around the British Isles has been estimated to be equivalent to three times current UK electricity demand, with the potential to convert a sizeable fraction of this wave energy to electricity. Many other areas of the world also present possible opportunities for wave power conversion. To discover what areas could be potential sites for wave technology in future, click here.

Click here to learn more about Pelamis Wave Power.

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

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Team New Jersey To Make Precast Concrete Solar House Reality

NEWARK, Jul 12 2011 – Construction of ENJOY: A Generation House, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 entry from Team New Jersey, a collaborative effort of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), begins July 11, 2011 following a ground-breaking at NJIT.  Once construction of the house is complete, Team NJ will hold an official topping-off event at NJIT with major sponsors and VIP guests. Work will continue at NJIT throughout the summer with the students performing tests to ensure all systems work properly.   

In September, the house will be de-constructed, loaded onto trucks, and shipped to the competition site on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Upon arrival, the team will aim for a two-day reconstruction timeline before adding finishing touches. Once completed, the ENJOY House will be ready to accommodate the thousands of visitors who will be touring the house during public display hours from Sept. 23-Oct. 2, 2011.

The ENJOY House is designed around a central core containing integrated systems. It is the first house in the competition’s history to use precast concrete panels as the primary construction material. ENJOY, a beach-inspired house, will feature an inverted-hip roof design for rainwater collection to support irrigation and grey water systems, an 8.2kW photovoltaic system that will allow the house to be completely powered by the sun, and the application of universal design principles, which will allow the house to be accessible to people of all ages and levels of mobility.

An interdisciplinary project, Team NJ is composed of architecture and industrial design students from NJIT’s College of Architecture and Design and engineering, landscape architecture, planning, and computer science students from Rutgers University. Students regularly attend meetings with professionals in the field and take classes that focus on specific aspects of the design, such as a class on green building at Rutgers University, the NJIT Solar Design Studio and System’s Interface Studio, along with several classes offered in the landscape architecture school and engineering school.

Click here to read the rest of the article

Click here to see previous post of Team NJ Solar House Project


The 2030 Challenge for Planning @Arch2030

The built environment is the major source of global demand for energy and materials that produce by-product greenhouse gases (GHG). Planning decisions not only affect building energy consumptions and GHG emissions, but transportation energy consumption and water use as well, both of which have large environmental implications.

In 2008, Architecture 2030 issued The 2030 Challenge for Planning asking the global architecture and planning community to adopt the following targets:

  • All new and renovated developments / neighborhoods / towns / cities / regions immediately adopt and implement a 60% reduction standard below the regional average for fossil-fuel operating energy consumption for new and renovated buildings and infrastructure and a 50% fossil-fuel reduction standard for the embodied energy consumption of materials.
  • The fossil-fuel reduction standard for all new buildings, major renovations, and embodied energy consumption of materials shall be increased to:
    • 70% in 2015
    • 80% in 2020
    • 90% in 2025
    • Carbon-neutral in 2030 (using no fossil fuel GHG emitting energy to operate or construct).
      These targets may be accomplished by implementing innovative sustainable design strategies, generating on-site renewable power and/or purchasing renewable energy (20% maximum).
  • All new and renovated developments / neighborhoods / towns / cities / regions immediately adopt and implement a 50% reduction standard below the regional average for:
    • Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) for auto and freight and
    • water consumption.
Seattle 2030 District
White House Challenge’s Partners
Activating the District

Click here for more information on Architecture 2030.

What is The 2030 Challenge? @Arch2030

Architecture 2030, a non-profit, non-partisan and independent organization, was established in response to the climate change crisis by architect Edward Mazria in 2002. 2030’s mission is to rapidly transform the U.S. and global Building Sector from the major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions to a central part of the solution to the climate change, energy consumption, and economic crises. Our goal is straightforward: to achieve a dramatic reduction in the climate-change-causing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the Building Sector by changing the way buildings and developments are planned, designed and constructed.

Buildings are the major source of global demand for energy and materials that produce by-product greenhouse gases (GHG). Slowing the growth rate of GHG emissions and then reversing it is the key to addressing climate change and keeping global average temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

To accomplish this, Architecture 2030 issued The 2030 Challenge asking the global architecture and building community to adopt the following targets:

    • All new buildings, developments and major renovations shall be designed to meet a fossil fuel, GHG-emitting, energy consumption performance standard of 60% below the regional (or country) average for that building type.
    • At a minimum, an equal amount of existing building area shall be renovated annually to meet a fossil fuel, GHG-emitting, energy consumption performance standard of 60% of the regional (or country) average for that building type.
    • The fossil fuel reduction standard for all new buildings and major renovations shall be increased to:
      • 70% in 2015
      • 80% in 2020
      • 90% in 2025
      • Carbon-neutral in 2030 (using no fossil fuel GHG emitting energy to operate).

These targets may be accomplished by implementing innovative sustainable design strategies, generating on-site renewable power and/or purchasing (20% maximum) renewable energy.

Click here for more information on Architecture 2030.


[Repost] Virtual Supermarket Allows South Koreans To Shop In Subways With Their Phones

Mega supermarket chain Tesco has designed a virtual supermarket in South Korea in hopes to gain more business than its competitor E-Mart. According to the video below, Koreans are the second-most hardworking people in the world and for them, grocery shopping once a week is a dreaded task.

So, Tesco Homeplus created a virtual store in Seoul subway stations in which the displays and merchandise are exactly the same as the stores. Customers scan the desired product with their smartphone and it then appears in their online cart. The products will be delivered to their door “right after you get home.”

To see how this store-of-the-future works, watch the video below.

[Via Foodbeast]


Sustainable Cities

written by Cathe Reams

The challenges presented by sustainable urban development are immense. Today, more than half of the world’s population already lives in cities and the numbers are rising. Cities are responsible for around 75 percent of all energy used, 60 percent of all water consumed and 80 percent of all greenhouse gases produced worldwide. To face the multitude of challenges arising from urbanization and demographic change, cities are looking at ways to improve the efficiency of their infrastructures. With the right technology cities can become more environmentally friendly, increase the quality of life for their residents, and cut costs all at the same time.

For a real-world look at how our solutions can be implemented today, please download “Smarter Neighborhoods, Smarter City”. This report contains detailed recommendations on how to help America’s largest urban area – the City of New York – plan for more sustainable growth.

Sustainable development & urban infrastructure

Cities continue to grow as more and more people move into urban areas and with this shift towards urbanization, cities are experiencing an increasing strain on their current infrastructure systems. Roadways, power grids, telecommunications lines and public transportation are all systems which rely on a strong infrastructure to handle demand. Optimizing these infrastructural networks is an immense task which requires public and private cooperation.

Power generation and distribution

To meet the growing demand for power, an intelligent and flexible grid infrastructure, is essential. An overloaded power grid can cause the kind of blackout which swept through New York City and much of the Northeast corridor in the US in 2003. Blackouts like these can be prevented with a modern, reliable, environmentally friendly, and affordable energy grid system which works to match the supply and demand balance of our energy systems.

Siemens offers components and solutions for the entire energy conversion chain. This starts with power generation in highly efficient combined gas and steam turbines, solar power plants and wind turbines. The electrical power generated there can be transported to cities with little loss via high-voltage direct current lines which help maintain and efficient transmission on energy through the country.

Sustainable transportation

How do we get from point A to point B in the most efficient manner possible? How do we get people out of gridlock and on the move again? For starters, intelligent traffic control systems contribute to helping traffic flow. They reduce fuel consumption, air pollution, and noise by allowing cars to stop less frequently. Additionally, particularly in cities where space is limited, public transportation systems become increasingly important network for connecting people. Trains in particular are an environmentally friendly alternative to cars and airlines. The Siemens Velaro is a good example. This fourth generation high-speed train consumes only 0.14 gallons of fuel per seat per 100 miles.

Sustainable healthcare infrastructure

In healthcare, too, a shift in thinking about the use of energy and raw materials has set in. Both ecological and economical requirements must be considered when faced with the challenge of creating sustainable infrastructure solutions. Siemens helps hospitals to pave the way for the future – with green hospitals. With its modular Green+ Hospitals concept, Siemens is firmly gearing its healthcare portfolio towards environmental care and sustainability.
The most decisive factor for protecting the environment and minimizing costs in hospitals is power consumption. Energy costs can be reduced through energy optimization, building automation, and the use of energy-saving equipment. A smooth and safe workflow with structured clinical pathways, short examination times, and the comprehensive use of IT is also key to the economic efficiency of a hospital. And with more comfort and gentle treatment for patients, Green+ Hospitals can attain greater competitive appeal and also ensure a better quality of life. 

Read the rest of the article by clicking here.

What’s a green city to you, how is your city green, how can it be more sustainable?
Include the hashtags #GreenCity and #AIANJ & share your thoughts on Twitter.